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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Cherry picking and the safety of low level electromagnetic radiation

While I was researching the previous article on the safety of GM foods, I came across the website of Magda Havas. Here's how she describes herself ...
Magda Havas is Associate Professor of Environmental & Resource Studies at Trent University where she teaches and does research on the biological effects of environmental contaminants. Dr. Havas received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, completed Post-Doctoral research at Cornell University, and taught at the University of Toronto before going to Trent University in Peterborough, Canada.


Dr. Havas’s research since the 1990s is concerned with the biological effects of electromagnetic pollution including radio frequency radiation, electromagnetic fields, dirty electricity, and ground current. She works with diabetics as well as with individuals who have multiple sclerosis, tinnitus, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and those who are electrically hypersensitive. She also conducts research on sick building syndrome as it relates to power quality in schools.

Since the mid 1990s Dr. Havas has taught about electromagnetic pollution in several courses at Trent University and has supervised Reading Courses and Honours Thesis Projects in this area. One of the courses deals specifically with the biological effects of electromagnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation. This is one of the few courses available in North America at a senior undergraduate level critically examining the effects of non-ionizing radiation.
Here comes the fun part. She has made a video in which she explains why we need to pay attention to all the scientific studies showing harmful effects of power lines, cell phones, WiFi etc. She uses Popper's criterion of falsifiability to justify her rejection of all articles that show no harmful effect and she turns cherry-picking completely upside down to support .... cherry-picking!

Don't you just love the title of this video?

In case you don't get it, here's a bit of extra reading.
Magda Havas’ New EHS Study Has Serious Flaws
Trust Me, I’m A Doctor: Magda Havas And WiFi


  1. Shades of Michael Behe: Her colleagues at Trent have felt compelled to issue a statement denouncing her claims (It's in the second link at the end).

  2. We can agree this is all gibberish and an embarrassment to Canada to be leading the field of fear of power lines.
    Is she a evolutionist? just kidding!
    She gets paid by the people of my country to place fear in people about common things around us.
    There is also more here that explains this inferiority of scholarship and how our forefathers dreams of a great nation are being interfered with.
    Did she say computer typing is dangerous???

  3. BTW, if anyone hasn't yet clicked on the link "Magda Havas' New EHS Study Has Serious Flaws", please do so. It is utterly hilarious. Just scrolling down to the conclusion should be enough to give you the gist of it.

    1. Bottom line is that the instrument she used to measure heart rates has written warnings that say clearly that EM radiation sources will interfere with the device, and produce the sort of spikes seen it her heart rate charts.


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    3. The fun doesn't stop there. The botanist attempts to refute that point with a Youtube video:

      in which she puts a phone next to the monitor in one patient, and claims the measured pulse rate does not increase. According to the video she did this a grand total of once. So, to her, this means that it is not possible for interference from the cell phone to have caused the results she obtained in her paper. She might want to familiarize herself with something called "black swan sighting." Oh, wait....

      And still more: The author of that article then offered Havas the opportunity to attempt to replicate her results under controlled conditions at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital, under the supervision of a cardiologist. The response from Havas and her supporters is interesting and revealing: